At the Agencies

EPA is launching a new website ( today (May 15) to provide the public with information about EPA's review of the definition of "Waters of the U.S." (WOTUS) as set out in the 2015 "Clean Water Rule." The site replaces the website developed for the 2015 rulemaking process.
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A new "sister sanctuary" agreement signed this spring between NOAA and the government of The Netherlands adds to a network of marine protected areas stretching from New England to the Caribbean Sea, and now provides refuge for North Atlantic humpback whales at both ends of their 3,000-mile annual migration.
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The U.S. Department of Interior on Wednesday said it would begin reviewing permit applications from six companies seeking to conduct seismic surveys in the Atlantic Ocean, marking a sharp reversal from the previous administration's stance on oil and gas exploration activities off the U.S. East Coast.
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In the News
Nature to the rescue: Using ecosystem services to reduce flood risks. From the mouth of the Mississippi to that of the Nile, communities have been drawn to coastal flood plains throughout the centuries. Where rivers and oceans meet, nature is at its best, and river sedimentation provides rich soils that greatly benefit agricultural productivity as well as fisheries. At present, an estimated 60 percent of our global population lives along estuaries and coastlines - making them among the most heavily populated areas of the world.
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People living in the American Southwest have experienced a dramatic increase in windblown dust storms in the last two decades, likely driven by large-scale changes in sea surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean drying the region's soil, according to new NOAA-led research.
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The Environmental Protection Agency announced today (May 15)  that the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program will receive approximately $344,000 in the form of a federal grant appropriated by Congress to conserve and improve working waterfronts and preserve fishing communities, within its 71,500 square mile watershed. "Having a healthy Mobile Bay is vital to the environmental and economic health of America," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "Productive fisheries are the foundation of many coastal communities and they need to be protected, and the National Estuary Program is a place-based program that is helping to protect and restore the water quality and ecological integrity of estuaries of national significance."
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In the States and Regions 
East Coast 

Three Delaware beaches are getting more sand to make up for erosion caused by past storms, Sen. Tom Carper (D) announced Monday. Many First State beach communities saw the erosive effects of Hurricane Joaquin in 2015 and a major snowstorm in January 2016. But Carper said some were left behind when it came to funding for repairs.

As the climate warms and sea levels rise, cities like Annapolis are already dealing with increased flooding. When storm surge from Hurricane Isabel flooded the Annapolis waterfront in 2003, it caused $160 million in damage. But now, all it takes is a high tide or heavy rain to trigger nuisance flooding.
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Like most American cities that border an ocean, New York City is at risk for flooding due to sea level rise. By 2050, NYC's average temperature is expected to rise between 4.1 and 6.6°F, and annual precipitation is expected to increase between 4% and 13%. Dangerous waves are also now 20 times more likely to overwhelm the Manhattan seawall than they were 170 years ago, according to a recent study. Anticipating those realities from climate change, the Mayor's Office of Recovery & Resiliency released the city's first-ever Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines in early May. As Fast Company notes, it's a preliminary draft that will be finalized by the end of 2017.
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Gulf Coast 

A group of Texas agencies overseeing restoration funds from the 2010 BP oil spill has announced a draft plan for spending $45.76 million on 13 coastal restoration projects.
The Texas Trustee Implementation Group's draft restoration plan and environmental assessment settled on the projects after reviewing 800 proposals.
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West Coast and Pacific Islands 

Thanks in large part to satellite measurements, scientists' skill in measuring how much sea levels are rising on a global scale - currently 0.13 inch (3.4 millimeters) per year - has improved dramatically over the past quarter century. But at the local level, it's been harder to estimate specific regional sea level changes 10 or 20 years away - the critical time frame for regional planners and decision makers. 
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Great Lakes

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today (May 14) announced that, after his push, the Army Corps of Engineers plans to deploy two Army Corps of Engineers expert federal mitigation teams to Lake Ontario communities to help address the ongoing flooding issues, which are a result of high water levels that are impacting homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure.
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Ohio environmental regulators have won another court ruling in a long-running dispute over dredging Cleveland's harbor. A federal judge ruled Friday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must pay the past costs of dumping sediment from the Cuyahoga River into contaminant areas along Lake Erie. The Army Corps maintains shipping channels along the lake.
Announcements & More  

The Coastal Conservancy announces the availability of technical assistance to help vulnerable communities develop Climate Ready Projects.  The Climate Ready Program seeks to encourage local governments and non-governmental organizations to take steps to prepare for a changing climate by advancing planning and implementation of on-the-ground actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or lessen the impacts of climate change on California's coastal communities and natural resources. Applications are due on June 30, 2017. Link to the Grant Announcement and to the FAQ.

OneNOAA Science Seminars, 2017  
Title: Climate Change Damages to Alaska Public Infrastructure and the Economic of Proactive Adaptation
Date & Time: May 24, 2017 - 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm ET

Title: The New He'eia National Estuarine Research Reserve
Date & Time:  May 31, 2017 - 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm ET 

Title: A Coastal Conservation Leadership Program in Washington State
Date & Time: June 8, 2017 - 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm ET
Seminars are open to the public. For remote access, location, abstracts and more, visit the OneNOAA Science Seminar Calendar at: 
Seminars are posted in Eastern Time and subject to changes without notice; please check the web page for the latest seminar updates.   


The Voice of the Coastal States and Territories on Ocean, Coastal & Great Lakes Affairs


The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not represent or reflect the views of CSO.